First year planners team up with big city directors in charrette

Students in the first semester core planning studio got a helping hand from some of the top practitioners in the country on October 15. As part of the annual Big City Planning Directors Institute—co-sponsored by the American Planning Association, the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, and the GSD—a group of directors participated in a mini-charrette session with first-year planning students.

After introductory remarks by course instructor Judith Grant Long (associate professor of urban planning), 4 competing teams of students and planning directors set to work. Their challenge was to play the role of a community coalition charged with negotiating community benefit agreements in the Kenmore/Fenway/Longwood neighborhood, the study area of the core planning studio. Their concerns included equity, poverty reduction, neighborhood improvements, sustainability, and local economic development.

Big city directors meet with MUPs Students relished the unique opportunity to work with experienced professionals. “Hearing their perspectives on the types of strategies and projects that planners can pursue to leverage limited funds and simultaneously address diverse areas of interest was a particularly fascinating and informative part of the exercise,” said Ginny Keesler (MUP ’15). Allison Green (MUP ’15) called the exercise “extremely validating.” She especially liked the competitive aspect. “It encouraged us to really come together and churn out ideas.”

The big city planning directors who took part in the charrette included Bill Anderson, formerly planning director in San Diego and now a vice president at AECOM and current president of the APA, David Cossum from Dallas, Emily Liu of Louisville and Rocky Piro of Denver. They were joined by Harriet Tregoning (LF ‘04) from D.C., Rob Anderson from Detroit and Peter Pollock (LF ‘98), former planning director for Boulder and now a fellow at the Lincoln Institute.

Photos: Tim Czerwienski